Re workplace violence – whilst an increasing problem, it’s not new. There have been policy papers and information projects for at least the last 15 years. In my view, while noble in cause there is still nothing to stop someone of criminal or deranged intent taking to a member of staff. Often drugs are involved and sometimes personality.
It’s my view that the one thing going missing in the battle against workplace violence is the prosecution rate. As it stands, individual nurses have to be the one to lay charges. There should be appropriate policy and, if required, legislative changes, to allow the employer to become the “vicarious victim” so to speak. In other words, a strong “no tolerance” policy can be enforced by the employer prosecuting everyone who perpetrates violence. The victim could provide their evidence as a witness thus saving them time and effort.
The courts have the power to enforce such things as drug diversion, bail and parole conditions, incarceration etc, with greater potential to alter the trajectory on which the perpetrator finds themselves, or at the least, protect the public by taking them off the street.
In my front line mental health role I am exposed to violence everyday, and I just do not have the time to go through the process of attending a police station, appearing in court, being identified to the perpetrator etc etc. I believe if I am assaulted, in effect the employer is the victim, through the lost time, medical expenses and diminished productivity resultant. It is reasonable in my opinion that the employer take the bulk of the load in addressing it.
Hi Brenton, thank you for your comment. Absolutely, the employer is responsible for providing a safe work environment and safe systems of work for employees. We have confirmed our intention to use any legal means at our disposal to take legal action against a CEO or Board who has failed to take all reasonable actions to ensure staff are free from violence and aggression. This stems from repeated failures to widely implement policies that have been in place for several years. We are also calling for improvements to systems and policies that would see employers taking a more active role in pressing prosecutions on behalf of their staff who have been the subject of violence in the workplace. However, any staff member who is the victim of abuse would still need to be the complainant in these matters, albeit with the might and resources of the employer to support them. Kind regards, ANMF (SA Branch)
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